Manitou Island Light Station

Manitou Island Light Station
Undated USCG photo of the station
Location Manitou Island, Michigan
Year first constructed 1861
Year first lit 1862
Automated 1978
Construction Iron
Tower shape Skeletal with central column
Markings / pattern White
Original lens Third order Fresnel lens
Current lens 12-volt solar powered 190 mm acrylic optic
ARLHS number USA-470
USCG number 7-15170
Manitou Island Light Station
Nearest city: Copper Harbor, Michigan
Coordinates: 47°25′11″N 87°35′14″W / 47.41972°N 87.58722°W / 47.41972; -87.58722Coordinates: 47°25′11″N 87°35′14″W / 47.41972°N 87.58722°W / 47.41972; -87.58722
Built: 1861
Governing body: COAST GUARD
MPS: U.S. Coast Guard Lighthouses and Light Stations on the Great Lakes TR
NRHP Reference#: 84001773[1]
Added to NRHP: July 19, 1984

The Manitou Island Light Station is a lighthouse located on Manitou Island, off the tip of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.[1]



The Manitou Island Light Station consists of a skeletal steel light tower with associated keeper's house,[2] outbuildings, and various walkways and foundations.[3] The tower base measures 26 feet (7.9 m) square at the base and is 17.5 feet (5.3 m) high.[2] The base supports a 42.5 feet (13.0 m) high skeletal tower, atop which is a cast iron ten-sided watch room and ten-sided lantern.[2] A circular staircase covered with iron and lined with wood provides access to the watchtower.[2] The original lens was a Third Order Fresnel Made by Le Paute of Paris and had six separate panels, each with a bull's eye prism.[2] The current lens is also a Third Order Fresnel, with four panels inscribed P. Barbier and Co., Paris.[2]

The keeper's house is a ten-room, two-story frame structure on a stone foundation.[3] It is sided with asbestos shingles (likely from the 1930s) and shingled with asphalt.[3] The interior still has some original doors and woodwork, but much of the wall material and flooring are modern additions.[3]


The first lighthouse on Manitou Island was a rubble-stone tower[3] built in 1850.[2] In 1861, the current replaced it; the keeper's house was built the same year.[2] In 1895, an oil house was added, in 1901 a boathouse, and in 1930 a concrete fog signal building was constructed, replacing the earlier one.[3] It is the oldest iron skeletal light tower on the Great Lakes.[2] The light was automated in 1978, and is still in use as a navigational aid.[4] In 2004, the Keweenaw Land Trust acquired the light from the U.S. Government, along with surrounding land,[3] under the auspices of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.[5] The area is open to the public, and is available for camping, rock collecting, hiking, boating, sea kayaking, fishing, and sightseeing.[5]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Manitou Island Light Station form the state of Michigan, retrieved 8/19/09
  4. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Michigan". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Retrieved 8/19/09. 
  5. ^ a b Manitou Island Light Station Preserve from the Keweenaw Land Trust, retrieved 8/19/09

External links

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